When the Buffalo Bills took the lead for the first time with 1:20 left, I was already preparing this blog, ready to state (and to prove) that Adam Gase is simply an awful playcaller. We all knew that the Dolphins were going to lose. We all knew it.
But then after the Dolphins completed the miracle victory, I hesitated for a minute. We won the game, so obviously Gase wasn’t so bad, right?
Wrong! Very, very wrong. Adam Gase is the worst, win or lose.
On a day when Mr. Jay Ajayi AVERAGED over 6 yards per carry, Adam Gase didn’t want to use him. When we led by 14 and could have put the game early, Gase kept calling pass plays. When we had the ball with 4 minutes left and a 4-point lead, Gase kept calling pass plays. When Kenyan Drake stepped up his game and proved he belongs as an NFL running back, Adam Gase kept calling passing plays. When (fill in the blank here), Gase kept calling pass plays.
Adam Gase abandoned the run when we needed it most. Again. As always. He simply doesn’t get it.
He has ZERO perception of what is working.
80,000 Bills fans understood that the Bills D could not stop Ajayi. 53 Dolphins and 53 Bills also knew it. Dolfans worldwide knew it. Jay Ajayi certainly knew it. The one man who refused to know it: Adam Gase.
Maybe (just maybe) if Matt Moore were having the passing game of his life, I could understand Gase’s obsession with pass plays. But Moore was playing like a pig. Maybe (just maybe) I could understand Gase’s obsession with pass plays if Jay Ajayi and his linemen were playing poorly. But they were studly all game long. Maybe (just maybe) I could understand Gase’s obsession with pass plays if Jay Ajayi’s backup was in the game and you don’t trust the backup. But Kenyan Drake was huge all game long.
I’ve run out of maybes. There are none left. No reasons or scenarios or situations where Gase should say “I don’t think a rushing play will work here.” No reasons at all.
Even basic football 101 dictates that with a late lead, it’s not only safer, but it’s correct, to just hand the ball off. In the Dolphins’ case, it’s not just handing off to some slouch. You’d be handing off to a guy who’d been pretty much unstoppable all game long.
In our chatroom, even the usual guys who think I like Ajayi too much were on my bandwagon. Matt Moore fans and Matt Moore haters, and pretty much the whole wide world, was in agreement: We need to keeping handing it off.
I think Gase’s obsessions and his many many errors stem from listening to too many pundits or something. The old incorrect adages like “You have to throw passes to keep the defense honest” and crap like that. Gase buys into it like no one else I’ve ever seen in my years of covering the NFL. Not even Joe Philbin was stupid enough to move away from a hot hand. Especially a red hot hand like Jay Ajayi. It took a month–four long games–for Ajayi to find his groove again, and once he found it, he got to sit back and watch Matt Moore throw grounders and interceptions.
Dolphin reporters with access to Gase must stop kissing his ass and worshipping him for changing the culture. Instead, they need to ask, “Why the hell would you call for three straight passes with 4 minutes left and the lead, while your running back is walking through them for 6 yards a pop?” Or “The handoff to Ajayi were incredibly effective today, so why did you keep trying that sorry screen pass to Landry that has worked exactly zero times this year.” OR “Why on earth would you call for a pass play right before halftime when you had a chance to punch it in with Ajayi?”
As usual, Gase will have his same sickening reply, “Yeah, maybe I should have called better plays.” And after he says that, reporters need to follow up and grill him some more. I don’t think reporters and fans should have to teach a professional coach a lesson, but in Gase’s case, he needs it.
Adam Gase thinks that running the Dolphins is like coaching a pee-wee squad where the league forces you to play everyone. There’s always one kid who’s a ton better than the rest, but you don’t want to embarrass the other team all the time, so you let your scrubs play. In that atmosphere, there are good reasons to not use your best players and your best plays. But not in the NFL.
If only Adam Gase knew that.